A snow was coming. It was coming fast and it was coming big.
I went out for milk, eggs, coffee, pretzel chips, fresh mozzarella, refried beans, black beans, pears, olive oil, and a piece of meat for the slow cooker. And the essentials -- bacon, mustard powder, oregano, and chili powder. And vitamin D capsules. I have a deficiency. The Child came along. She needed applesauce.
To my surprise, the grocery store was a jungle. I feared the shelves would be completely depleted of mustard powder and vitamin D capsules.
After obtaining all items and preparing my coupons, we bagged and paid for our groceries without incident. We headed to the car, Child and I, where we decompressed by singing a strange combination of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells.
“Dad, you sing Rudolph and I'll sing Jingle Bells.”
“At the same time?”
It went terribly and wonderfully.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, I decided it would be a good idea to take a quick side trip to get a case of beer -- specifically, a case of Victory's DirtWolf. I'd had it a few times on draft and thought it would be the perfect beer to spend some time with and really get to know. After all, it did come in second in the inaugural BeerGraphs' Rookie of the Year Award and was BeerGraphs' Alex Fossi's Beer of the Year.
“Should we go to the beer store?” I asked the Child.
And so it was decided. While en route, the snow started falling and the Child asked, “Do they have animals at the beer store?”
“Oh, what do they have at the beer store?”
“They have beer at the beer store.”
“Oh, (long pause) but I can't have beer Daddy.”
“No honey, that's right, you can't.”
“What will I have Daddy?”
“I don't know. How about a pretzel?”
“Yes, a pretzel please.”
For the sake of transparency, I will admit that at this moment I was incredibly grateful to Wife for stuffing the snack bag of pretzels in my coat pocket while saying “just in case” -- I wasn't sure what she meant at the time – just in case the blizzard comes early and the Child and I get stranded – just in case the American economy disintegrates on the way to the grocery store and the dollar is replaced by a currency based on pretzels – just in case you decide to go to the beer distributor (which, in PA, is the only place where one can buy cases of beer) and the Child questions the benefits of such a trip from the perspective of a three year old (She's not even three, but I swear she sees the world from the perspective of a three-year-old. She is advanced.). I will also admit that I was a bit nervous about actually taking the Child to a beer distributor, something I haven't done since she was a sleeping infant, snugly contained in the godsend that is the infant carrier. I was also a bit nervous about the snow storm that had arrived while driving to the beer distributor, and about being out and about, driving around in it, with the Child in the car. However, I am a man that drives around in an all-wheel drive wagon and I was headed to a very clean, brightly lit, beer distributor. The place, Shangy's, in Emmaus, PA, is like the Neiman Marcus of beer distributors. It is the closest thing in my life to a yacht.
I was relieved to find the beer distributor packed with fathers and their toddler sons and daughters, so much so that the employees were handing out lollipops.
“Do you have any Dirt Wolf?” I said to one of the employees as he passed by.
“We don't carry it,” the employee said.
Or he said, “We don't, but we carry it.”
By the time I realized that I hadn't fully understood what was said it was too late – I had already said something along the lines of 'oh, okay, thanks, I perfectly understood what you just said' while projecting an image of unabashed self-assurance in an effort to demonstrate my understanding of his words, as well as my cognitive ability in general. To go back to him and say, “I'm sorry, what did you say?” would like admitting that 'oh, okay, thanks, I perfectly understood what you just said' was a lie. It would be like going back on my word, and in front of my daughter no less. My word is my bond.
Either way they didn't have any. And my word is still my bond.
DirtWolf, Victory Brewing Company (5.66 BAR)
Appearance = 4/5
Dirt Wolf is gold, with off white head, and a bit of lacing as you sip it like a gentleman.
Smell = 4.5/5
Out of the IPA glass, which really amplifies aromas, DirtWolf is tropical fruits, flowers in the breeze, and fresh air from a mountain top.
Taste = 4.25/5
Bright citrus up front followed by a creamy floral middle and a bitter pine finish. The IPA glass highlights the bright citrus fruit and flowers and adds an earthiness to the finish. The pint glass pushes up the creamy floral flavors and an easy pine bitterness. I preferred the pint glass.
Mouthfeel = 4.25/5
Medium body. Actually feels a bit light out of the IPA glass. Smooth and Creamy, reminiscent of Bell's Two Hearted Ale, but not quite that smooth or creamy and with more slickness to the overall feel. Has a piney oil feel with a touch of heat to go along with the bitterness that builds at the end -- very enjoyable. A great blend of carbonation and the bitter creaminess of the Chinook hops really shines through in the pint glass.
Overall = 4.25/5
I preferred it from the pint glass. Easy drinking for a double IPA – smooth and mild but delicious. The flavors and feel are just a tad light for the Double IPA style, making it diffficult to compare to other top tier Imperial/Double IPA's (perhaps part of its current Style+ rating of 101), but that subtlety is maybe part of the charm of this beer. It definitely deserves the Rookie of the Year consideration it got here and the recognition it received here. Also, DirtWolf is a great name. I wish it was my middle name.
Leaderboards NOTE: Originally, when DirtWolf was listed as an American IPA on our leaderboards, it had a BAR of 7.66. Now that it is correctly listed among the Imperial/Double IPA's, DirtWolf currently has a BAR of 5.66. How does that make you feel? And don't hold back, let's get emotional.
Follow J. D. W. Shirt on Twitter @beeronmyshirt.